October 16, 2008

Crews Looking Forward to Annual Boston Race

Print More

The Cornell rowing teams will join over 8,000 athletes and more than 300,000 spectators at the annual Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston this weekend. One of the largest crew races in the world, the racing spans two days and attracts international competition. Each of the Cornell men’s and women’s crews will send its top rowers to compete with a different strategy.
The lightweight men will compete for the first time under the direction of head lightweight coach Chris Kerber. The three-time defending national champions will try to pick fellow Ivy League competitors out of the crowd.
“A lot of the other teams in the league have it out for us because we’ve done well the past couple years,” said senior lightweight captain Mike Gavalas, “and we’re not dropping the standard. We’ll try and go out and put on a good show. We want to prove to the league that just because we have a new coach, it doesn’t mean anything is different.”
The heavyweight men, also under new direction with the Spirit of ‘57 Director of Rowing and Heavyweight Rowing Coach Todd Kennett ’91, will look to reap the benefits of their new training program
and capture the collegiate championship.
“We’ve been training really, really hard this year and putting in a lot more time than usual,” said senior heavyweight captain Jason Malumed. “We are going to go out and try and win it.”
The women, led by head coach Hilary Gehman, will use the Head of the Charles contest simply to gain experience.[img_assist|nid=32702|title=Shipping up to Boston|desc=Men’s crew, seen here at the Syracuse Invitational on Nov. 3, and the women’s crew will be heading to Boston this weekend for the annual Head of the Charles Regatta.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Right now we have a pretty young team, and we’re still figuring out combinations of girls [in the boat],” said senior women’s rowing captain Cathleen Balantic. “We’ll try to see how we deal with the challenge.”
The race is especially challenging for more inexperienced rowers because of the regatta’s magnitude and the difficulty of the race course.
“The Head of the Charles is a very sensory-overload kind of race,” Balantic said. “There’s a lot going on — there are so many fans and so many boats. I think we are just going to be concentrating on keeping the focus in our boat and doing the best we can with what we have.”
“The Head of the Charles is always a little bit crazy,” Malumed said. “It’s such a crazy course and you don’t get to practice on it the day before.”
The lightweights will also utilize the regatta’s unique chaos to season the younger rowers.
“The fall is all about gaining experience and learning how to row and teaching some of the younger guys how to compete at the varsity level,” Gavalas said. “It’s important that we do well. It’s not that important that we win the race, but that we have a showing that we can be proud of and make us look forward to the spring.”